Eastover Temporary Traffic Flow Scheme Suspended

The recent arrangements to restrict traffic flow in Eastover, East Quay and Salmon parade were a temporary solution to a long-term problem which was recognised in the Eastover Supplementary Planning document, published in 2014:“A major barrier to pedestrian footfall in the town centre from Fore Street to Eastover is the East Quay / Town Bridge / Salmon Parade junction, and particular care is required in enabling a design which prioritises pedestrian movement, but which does allow vehicle movements to continue. A primary aim of the SPD is to improve pedestrian linkages.” Estover Councillor Glen Burrows explains what has changed.

“The Eastover Plan offers a number of suggestions, including pavement widening, cycle lanes, pedestrianisation, additional off-street parking, and/or one-way traffic schemes, and the recent arrangements were a useful way of testing some of these ideas. Unfortunately, government funding ran out and continuation of the scheme is suspended until further funding is acquired.

The priority remains public health and safety – not just from traffic accidents but from the pollution produced by motorised transport. It is now the duty of local councils to find ways of making town centre streets safe, healthy and pleasant places for pedestrians to linger and shop. Interestingly, research shows that retail outlets benefit too, because walking shoppers spend more time and money than car drivers who park briefly to dash in and out of a shop. Sometimes they also leave their engines running, which is another way of contributing to pollution, as well as being illegal!

On Friday 26 th and Monday 29 th June 2020, local councillors visited a total of 17 Eastover traders – in other words, all those which were open at that time Our intention was to seek feedback on the temporary traffic arrangements and their effect on Eastover and its traders and shoppers. Everyone understood why and how the temporary restrictions had been introduced. We were surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response to the new arrangements. Only one-trader thought it was a bad idea.

The rest agreed that it was good to give space to pedestrians. Some thought that pedestrianisation of Eastover would be a good idea. Of course, some people have been inconvenienced, by having to take longer to make their journey to ASDA, for example, or walking further to the shops on Eastover. Change is always difficult, and there are many adaptations needed, such as extra off-street parking, to enable people to carry on with their normal activities. However, we must face the climate emergency together. We hope that everyone will understand that public health and safety, and reduction of Co2 and particle emissions is of importance to us all.

When funding is achieved, traffic restrictions will be re- introduced. As always, comments and feedback are welcomed”